OBJECTIVE: To collect information on factors that affect the time period from the onset of symptoms to first contact with health care providers, whether private or government.
DESIGN: A cross-sectional study using a pre-tested questionnaire was conducted among 296 newly registered smear-positive TB patients in 10 districts in Sabah. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to determine which risk factors were associated with patient delay (>30 days) and 'extreme' patient delay (>90 days).
RESULTS: The percentage of patients who sought treatment after 30 and 90 days was respectively 51.8% (95%CI 45.7-57.9) and 23.5% (95%CI 18.6-29.0). The strongest factors associated with patient delay and 'extreme' patient delay was when the first choice for treatment was a non-government health facility and in 30-39-year-olds. 'Extreme' patient delay was also weakly associated, among other factors, with comorbidity and livestock ownership.
CONCLUSION: Delay and extreme delay in seeking treatment were more common when the usual first treatment choice was a non-government health facility. Continuous health education on TB aimed at raising awareness and correcting misconceptions is needed, particularly among those who use non-government facilities.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the socio-economic determinants of TB in HIV-infected patients in Asia.
DESIGN: This was a matched case-control study. HIV-positive, TB-positive cases were matched to HIV-positive, TB-negative controls according to age, sex and CD4 cell count. A socio-economic questionnaire comprising 23 questions, including education level, employment, housing and substance use, was distributed. Socio-economic risk factors for TB were analysed using conditional logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: A total of 340 patients (170 matched pairs) were recruited, with 262 (77.1%) matched for all three criteria. Pulmonary TB was the predominant type (n = 115, 67.6%). The main risk factor for TB was not having a university level education (OR 4.45, 95%CI 1.50-13.17, P = 0.007). Burning wood or coal regularly inside the house and living in the same place of origin were weakly associated with TB diagnosis.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that lower socio-economic status is associated with an increased risk of TB in Asia. Integrating clinical and socio-economic factors into HIV treatment may help in the prevention of opportunistic infections and disease progression.